‘No car, no garage’ policy is anti-people

October 16, 2018

Lawmakers seem bent on pushing for the enactment into law of the so-called ‘no garage, no car” policy, where car buyers will be required to show proof that they have an available parking space before they can own a vehicle.

The proposed bill is also expected to cover old or purchased vehicle owners who will have to submit proof of parking in their next car registration in LTO or LTFRB.

Reportedly, its author, Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, said the measure will prevent Metro Manila from turning into a big parking space and address traffic congestion. The Land Transportation Office (LTO), still according to news reports, had thrown its support to the idea.

Although I won’t be personally affected, I think the idea is so pro-rich, as it will automatically benefit only those who can afford to buy and live in huge houses with provisions for a car or more. Needless to say, those who stand to be adversely affected by the said policy are the middle-income earners and below which, by the way, form part of the majority of the Filipino population.

It is maybe wise to revisit the aim of the said bill, which is to address traffic congestion, supposedly. I don’t see why our lawmakers blame the number of cars on the roads without examining thoroughly what brought this about.

Before training their eye on the car owners who are not as rich as they are, these legislators better focus on how to improve our mass transport system. If our mass transport system is doing good, no one will bother to buy a car. In the US for instance when I went there years ago, we used a car to get to a parking area, left the car there and then went places via mass transport system. Once done, we returned to the said parking area also via mass transport, took our car back and went home. If this can be done at least in Metro Manila, there will be less cars on the road and therefore, less traffic.

Problem is, our transport systems are so bad that even ordinary employees are left with no choice but to buy a car even on loans. And now we want to curtail that freedom?

Limiting car buyers will never solve the problem of traffic congestion as long as the other perennial causes are there. For one, illegal terminals continue to exist under the very noses of authorities.  And mind you, these terminals exist in major roads and thoroughfares.

And what about the vendors? In Baclaran alone, they are back. Over the weekend, we visited a relative and passed through a major road, San Andres in Malate. Traffic was snail-paced because vendors dotted the streets left and right and the pedestrians were walking nearly in the middle of the streets since the vendors have also occupied the sidewalks. Certainly, such is the case on countless other streets in the metro.

Now that the Christmas season had set in, expect the number of vendors in the streets to increase ten-fold.

Why do illegal terminals and vendors exist? That’s a ‘million-dollar’ question the answer to which, we already know.

While corrupt authorities continue to reap the benefits of these illegal terminals and vendors, the poor motorists whose only fault is that they were not born rich, are not in any position to improve our mass transport or get rid of illegal vendors and terminals, will be made to suffer.

Instead of providing a solution for our traffic problem-ridden majority, some authorities are making the situation worse by coming up with a requirement that only the rich can afford. Note that those pushing for the ‘no garage, no car policy’ are but a few who are moneyed and won’t therefore be affected.

Before punishing the majority of Filipinos, maybe our lawmakers and those in favor of the ‘no car, no garage’ policy should begin with themselves.

Firstly, how many back-up vehicles do they and their family members use, not to mention their respective security thus contributing to traffic? Why not pass a bill that would require them to take the MRT or LRT at least twice a week for them to understand why ordinary citizens are left with no option but to buy a car? Why not require them to slash their monetary benefits or streamline their staff to the barest minimum so that the funds may instead be used to establish a better mass transport system?
The problem with our lawmakers is that they never craft laws that would affect their interests. The anti-dynasty bill for instance, had been there for the longest time.



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